By Jeremy Bender, Cheapism.com
Generally, the words "cheap" or "free" and "condom" are not what you want to see in the same sentence. Get over it. There are incredibly easy ways to find high quality condoms for free. With a 36-pack of Trojans pushing upwards of $25 at some outlets, a reliable source of condoms for cheap should be on everyone's contact list -- especially as Valentine's Day draws closer and closer. Luckily, free condoms are readily available if you know where to look.
Use CondomFinder.com. This website is the best friend of anyone in a rush to find free condoms. The site is dedicated to creating a network of businesses and organizations that distribute condoms for free with the goal of preventing STDs. All you have to do is enter your zip code, and the website will show you a map of the closest affiliate businesses offering free condoms -- no questions asked. Free lube is an added benefit.
Find the Department of Health. Although details differ by state, there is always some version of a Department of Health. One part of these agencies' portfolios is helping to prevent transmittable diseases, including STDs. This means that many government health departments offer free condoms to those who show up at a local office and are strapped for cash. Locate an outpost of the agency by doing a quick Google search for your state and Department of Health.
Reach Out to Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood helps people take control of their own fertility and reproductive systems. This means that, aside from counseling and sexual education, Planned Parenthood also provides condoms free of charge, no questions asked.
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Seek Out Local Health Clinics. Another source for free or cheap condoms is the local/community health clinic. Even if the condoms don't come free, the clinics typically offer massive discounts and price incentives for buying them through their pharmacies. If you are young and live near a college campus, college health services also sell condoms at substantial discounts. Of course, you may prefer to steer clear of the college option if you no longer look student aged if for no other reason than it may feel awkward.
Never Buy Condoms from Convenience Stores. Although convenience stores offer, well, convenience, their prices are always slightly higher to compensate for the prime locations and extended hours. Likewise, try to avoid buying condoms at pharmacies, which also heavily mark up the cost of condoms. Consider buying condoms through a condom wholesaler instead.
Take Your Condom Shopping Online. If the idea of relying solely on free condoms still doesn't sit well with you, buy condoms online. Condom manufacturers often post downloadable coupons as an incentive. There are also specialized condom stores that deliver variety and savings. CondomUSA, for example, offers steep clearance sales, free samples, and savings upwards of 50 percent, and an impressive inventory. CondomUSA's warehouse, Condom Republic, offers even better wholesale deals -- 100 condoms for as low as $40, and 1,000 condoms for $250 (although it could be hard justifying buying condoms in 1,000-unit packs, no matter how compelling the bargain).
Condom Depot is another source, with 100-condom sampler packs priced as low as $30. You might have to forfeit getting the particular brand you want with this vendor's sampler, but the massive savings and the thrill of trying something new should make up for that. At these prices you're getting more than double the number of condoms at the same price you would pay for a 36-pack through a pharmacy.
Let's Be Real. Condoms are vital for a healthy and satisfying sex life. So don't settle for paying through the nose for small numbers of product. Instead, find the closest source of free condoms or order online. Your wallet, and partner, will thank you.
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